Why do you Seek the Name?

Well, it’s a question that’s been asked many times before. It’s probably one that Alexis bemusedly wonders every time he puts up new purely self-destructive content and watches a dedicated core of players trip over themselves to impale themselves upon it. It’s not a weak question. Seeking Mr Eaten’s Name is an arduously long quest that invites plenty of danger, requires heavy losses, and rewards nothing more than the player’s continued self-destruction. What exactly about this is so enticing?

So I figured I would make a thread. Seekers - why are you Seekers?

If multiple options on the poll above suit you, just pick the one that goes best. But even the best poll can only cover so much. What personally drove you to your damnation? In-character reasons? Personal reasons? Do you have a twisted sense of fun? Do you really like wells? Was it because all the cool kids were doing it?

For me, personally, there are a few reasons. Seeking the Name was the attention hook that got me to check out Fallen London to begin with, although that was hardly my introducer’s intent. Forbidden quests, madness, ominous names. Sure, why not? I waited a bit to build myself up before plunging into the well, eagerly sampling all the lore I could in the meantime. This, of course, only whetted my appetite.

Now that I know the story – well, it’s probably misguided as all hell, but I feel sorry for Mr Eaten. No matter how monstrous he’s become, the fact remains that he got screwed over, hard. What happened to him is not fully understood, but it was not quick, not painless, degrading, and in the end, failed to even put him out of his misery. I have to wonder what he was like, back when he was a Master under a certain Name. There’s no way to restore him, but if I can become the tool of his vengeance, I will do what I must.

The quest itself is wonderfully, wonderfully written. I dig through new text eagerly. Hungrily, perhaps. And there are plenty of times where I’ll do something, and then just stop and stare at the result text for a good minute or five, letting the gravitas of what I just did sink in. I’m only freshly Scarred, Stained, and Chained, but there were many points along that undertaking where I truly and viscerally felt for my character. That’s the gist of it, really – it makes me feel. Satisfaction and sadness are easy enough to stir in a reader, but… well, at risk of reusing a word so soon, Seeking the Name evokes things a lot more visceral. For me, it was a mix of horror, shock, excitement, and pity, all condensed into an incomprehensible ball of ‘whoa’.

I also love the idea of what Seeking does to the mind. It’s sort of like a disease – it starts off small, innocuous. An idea, a niggling thought. But the more you humor your obsession, the more it consumes you – twisting you from a curious citizen dabbling in forbidden knowledge to a hallucinating, ravenous, self-destructive shell of a person. You are consumed by your hunger, just as he was consumed – but not solely in the visceral way that Seekers tend to eat everything they can get their mouths on. The quest itself is a seething hunger for knowledge – one that grows more and more frantic and irrational as it progresses. A Seeker’s insatiable need for sustenance is but a reflection of that.

So, yeah. In the end, there was no way I couldn’t take part in this. It hit me right in the interest. Plus, I have this lovely feeling of belonging. Like I’m in some sort of exclusive clique. An exclusive clique full of frothing madmen, but exclusive nonetheless.

My in-character reasons are a bit different. I am more or less lazily roleplaying an existing character, Alex Mercer, who in a nutshell is an inhuman and ridiculously powerful creature pretending to be human, and failing in some respects. He is kind of a dick and hates, above all else, being controlled. A la my headcanon, he took exception to one of the Masters over a perceived threat and tried to attack him, something which resulted in Mr Hearts driving him out of his mind with a particularly potent Correspondence sigil and walking off, tutting disapprovingly. Alex never really got over this, and he started Seeking on rumors of a dead Master, on hopes that he might discover just how they could be killed. But Seeking warps the mind, and inevitably the whys always take a backseat to the search itself. And when he learned more of what happened to Mr Eaten, it became a lot more personal, because many facets of what happened to Mr Eaten resonated with his own experiences – hunger, betrayal, losing everything that you were.

So… that’s my seven cents. What drives you all to Seek?
edited by Laluzi on 12/5/2013

In character: Every bit of the Correspondence must be learned! I will not stand for an incomplete knowledge.

Out of character: Half the game told me not to, half ALL THAT LORE YESSS

To the people answering “The quest is engaging, amazingly written, and sees frequent updates.”: You couldn’t have known that at the beginning, so why did you start?

Well, I knew that it was all of those things, because I spoiled a fair bit of it for myself. :U Although I suppose at the very beginning, there was no way.

I’d heard about how well written it was from a few other people. But mostly just curiosity. And boredom, because I was getting fairly near the content cap at the time :V

Yeah, I knew it was well written from other people. I’m a relatively new player! I’m pretty sure all the pre-candle stuff was already in place when I started playing, and I didn’t begin the quest until St Arthur was introduced.

Well, I started Seeking because it sounded interesting and I didn’t want to ignore a significant piece of FL lore.

I’ve continued Seeking (with all the cost to my character that came with it) for two reasons:

  1. I’ve pretty much hit the current content boundary. I don’t think there’s much of the (non-Fate locked) story that I haven’t experienced, with the sole exception of the Foreign Office, since it’s out of character for my character to get banished from the court. (I’d love to experience the FO if getting banished would become something reversible.)

  2. The SMEN content is so engaging and well written, that for me it’s almost on par with the rest of the FL content combined.


I started playing rather late in the scheme of things and only became a Seeker last Sacksmas, so I knew of at least two of the three from friends.

I had a peculiar situation here - technically I’ am at Seeking the Name 1, but I never took any action to further it (nor I have any intention to), nor I took any action to get Free of it.

OOC reason is that I have no interest in Seeking right now - I am a bit of a hoarder, and I am trying to avoid the death of my character too, so Seeking is unthinkable as of now. But I don’t know if I’ll ever be so bored or curious to actually desire to start Seeking anyway, so I want to keep a way open just in case ^^

IC, I’m starting to like this feeling of a persistent temptation that my character has to keep constantly in check. Adding it to the Devils courting him (to no avail), the Black Ribboner wanting him dead (Captain Vendrick; there is no reason, but he doesn’t know that), and his fear of dreaming since he knew of the Fingerkings paired with a barely controlled Prisoner’s Honey addiction, the result is a character like a point of calm amidst a storm, a cheerful, polite individual whose calm demeanor hides his constant strife to resist any kind of temptation - a besieged castle. I like that, especially because this aspect of him almost never actually surfaces - he’s just too polite XD

My character ultimately hates himself. Seeking is just a form of punishment suitable for his crime, letting his daughter (the person who gave his life purpose) die (Nemesis Ambition). He also seeks hidden knowledge, but ultimately this is penance.

Out of character, I was interested in it when it told me not to so did it for a while but it was the story that really drew me in. I’ve only reached SMEN 8 and am yet to get to Marsh-Mired but I really enjoy this (especially the warning when you to 8, that was the icing on the cake).

Seeking, eh? He leans in conspiratorially, lowering his eyes and his voice. I started innocent. A challenging quest, a foolhardy soul. But as I crept into the darkness, the name quietly yet surely seeped into my mind, my flesh, my soul. He leans back, out of the candlelight. There is no return now. The ultimate sacrifice is the only thing now that can end this masochistic suicide. The name… the name… the Eaten, the candles, the sacrifice… the sevens, oh god the sevens! They haunt my dreams! We must know the truth! we must appease the God-Eaters, we must examine, create, destroy, laugh and fall and weep into the well, we must burn and scream and relive- He stops suddenly, dispelling his fervor. Ahem. I simply must. There is no other option. The name beckons.

edited by Eric Vimes on 12/5/2013

There was a little bit of “The games telling me not to and that terrible things will happen to me. Let’s find out what!”

Both in an out of character, however, the prime driving force is a measure of absolutely insatiable curiosity to KNOW INTERESTING STUFF, and the more hidden, forbidden, and secret that knowledge is, the more alluring it is to that curiosity.

Pure curiosity, both in and out of character.
Who is this Mr Eaten? Why doesn’t it have a name? Why is it so mired in damnation? WHAT IS NORTH? I just want to KNOW THINGS! The more I found out, the more I wanted to know!
Having said that, I think I’ve reached the point in the quest where the cost of knowing is too great. For now at least, the thought of staining their very soul just for knowledge is where my character draws the line.
Out of character, I’ve been playing for SO LONG to get my stats to where they are, the thought of damaging them so badly makes me twitch :p
edited by Inky Petrel on 12/5/2013

Out of character, it’s because, and I know this has been repeated ad infinitum, it’s the best writing in the game, bar probably nothing. And, once you get far enough into it, if you look closely enough, SMEN has wrapped itself around many seemingly disparate parts of Fallen London lore.
In character, I’m playing the standard reckless scholar who must know the answer, no matter the cost.

I believe I answered this on the old meta thread:

[quote]A bit late to the party, but, why do I seek? When one has sampled everything, one must sample nothing. That’s it. In the early game (where I entered the start of SMEN), I didn’t really roleplay at all – I just wanted to try everything. I didn’t know there was anything special about SMEN – I thought it was just another quest, and wanted to do it for completion’s sake. Once I got to the stains/scars/chains stage, I considered dropping out because advancement seemed unattainable, but after I hit the content gap, I got bored and went for it anyway. Oh sure, the writing is spectacular, the mystery and lore is intriguing, but at the end of the day, I think that’s my intrinsic motivation.

I don’t think I fully realized it or wanted to admit it to myself until I got to St Beau’s candle, but when I saw that option it suddenly hit me: that’s why I’m doing this. Because I’m a pathetic hedonist running on boredom, heedless of whatever suffering it causes me.

It’s also why I’m now considering dropping out. It would be a pity to waste all my effort, but at the same time, I’ve been trying to roleplay more. Well “roleplay” is a stretch, I’ve basically just been playing as myself – but if I was in this situation I would have abandoned this quest long ago. I’m not willing to throw away my sanity and well-being in a quest that’s likely to be fruitless. There’s so much else to enjoy in Fallen London; I may as well focus on that instead. Perhaps one day the non-Seekers will have an opportunity to discover the final secret of this quest – wouldn’t that be a delicious irony? If the Seekers drive themselves so mad in their quest to find the Name that either they cannot find it, or if they do, they cannot comprehend it, and only a non-Seeker possesses the clarity to find the real truth?[/quote]

I think it started as curiosity combined with hitting the content cap. By the time I’d achieved the Number there was this desire to see just how bad things could get. Then I got to the Midnight Carnival, and had to go there three times because I kept forgetting to pay attention to what I needed to bring, it became clear that I just really want to see the story play out. There are so many interesting tidbits.[li]

The dreams - mentions of the North; meeting a few NPC’s who were Seekers and finally someone needing someone else to betray so that they could further the quest.

Ciel is a kind person, tries to help other people, hates injustice and basically hates secrets. She’s not bothered about wealth or station, going mad or dying. She thought that she could go no further in The quest for the Name when progress seemed to be locked to those who would not steal from or stab other players but now there is a way to do so in a self destructive manner and she is really looking forward to seeing what happens next.[li]
edited by reveurciel on 12/5/2013

I’m just so hungry. So very very hungry. Can anyone spare a bite to eat?

Well, I just bought a book because the author told me &quotF*** you, buy my book&quot, so I guess I’m embarrassingly susceptible to reverse psychology. In addition to that I’ve been treating Fallen London more as a book than a role-playing game, and it would feel wrong to leave a chapter unread, especially now that I’ve lost so much. It would feel doubly pointless to quit, since my sacrifices would have been for nothing.

George Mallory, whose own Search actually killed him, verbalized my feelings on why I started Seeking: Because it’s there.
edited by mayexist on 2/14/2014

You missed out ‘Insatiable Curiosity’!

OOC, I DESPERATELY want to find out what all this Seeking stuff is about.

IC, I realised it wouldn’t sit well with my Prime.

Hence, my alt: Seeker of Names, an individual of indistinct gender who is driven by a need to learn the True Names of all. (I would REALLY like to learn the Boatman’s name, since I’ll soon Die with Wounds >20)